CD Reviews

Review: August Alsina Shows Tremendous Potential On Full-Length Debut 'Testimony'

April 17th, 2014 10:10pm EDT
August Alsina
The moment has finally arrived for up and coming New Orleans contemporary R&B singer August Alsina to take center stage. Sure, the 21-year old represents the new generation who prefer boldness to subtlety, but ultimately the brasher style suits the hardships he’s enduring in his personal life. “Through the pain”, Alsina seems to find the positives, even if it seems overcome with pessimism on full-length debut Testimony. A true testimony the LP ends up being, Alsina builds off the momentum of 2013 EP Downtown: Life Under the Gun, upping the ante.

“Testify” sets the tone for Testimony exce...

Review: Jason Derulo, 'Talk Dirty': Over-Reliance On Sex And Swagger Holds Album Back At Times

April 16th, 2014 3:30pm EDT
Jason Derulo, 'Talk Dirty
It has been a minute since “Whatcha Say” had this music enthusiast excited about new pop/R&B artist Jason Derülo. Nah, I wasn’t a ‘fan girl’ as any number of YouTube personalities might put it, but I did think ole boy had something fresh about him. Judging by the uniqueness of that number one hit, it seemed he was well on his way to conquering the music industry. Things didn’t quite work out that way for a number of reasons. Sure, Jason Derülo hasn’t exactly set the Billboard 200 on fire (understatement), but nor has his music since his debut truly stacked up either (no shade – or at least ...

Review: Martina McBride, ‘Everlasting’

April 15th, 2014 9:15pm EDT
Martina McBride - Everlasting
Martina McBride balances soul music and her country roots soundly on Everlasting

Veteran country superstar Martina McBride’s 12th album, Everlasting, is certainly a surprise. No, McBride doesn’t go radical and become a pop artist or anything like that, but rather than opting for new original material, she hearkens back to the past. What specifically from the past one asks does Mrs. McBride hearken back to? Soul. While a country artist singing soul music seems somewhat far-fetched given the contrasts of styles, Everlasting proves to be an enjoyable and effective album. McBride isn’t suddenl...

Review: SoMo’s Major Label Debut Leaves The Listener Underwhelmed

April 9th, 2014 10:45am EDT
YouTube has become the ‘it’ means of being discovered as an artist these days. Honestly, the art of self-promotion is truly savvy, aggressive gameplay personally. Where so many talented artists don’t have the confidence or the moxie to put them self out there, those that use a platform like YouTube deserve success. Even so, that doesn’t mean that what they have to offer is necessarily exceptional or laden with swag. SoMo, a burgeoning R&B/pop artist, takes his stab at fame with his major label debut, SoMo. Being signed to Republic is definitely a come-up from YouTube uploads. While SoMo sho...

CD Review: Various Artists - 'Punk Goes 90’s 2'

April 7th, 2014 9:13pm EDT
CD Review: Various Artists - 'Punk Goes 90’s 2'
The thing about Punk Goes 90’s 2, the 15th (yes, you read that right) installment of Fearless Records’ long running Punk Goes… series and second in the Punk Goes 90’s line, is, as with the majority of, if not all, its predecessors, a potpourri of mixed results. However, in the case of Punk Goes 90’s 2, the results are more often than not positive. For starters, Get Scared plays things close to the vest on Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy,” as does the Color Morale on Foo Fighters’ “Everlong.” This approach doesn’t always work however, as Mayday Parade (Bush – “Comedown”) and Yellowcard (Smashing P...

CD Review: The Hotelier - 'Home, Like Noplace Is There' (Tiny Engines)

April 7th, 2014 9:10pm EDT
CD Review: The Hotelier - 'Home, Like Noplace Is There' (Tiny En
Perhaps it’s the new album or the new label (Tiny Engines) or maybe it’s the new name, but the Hotelier, former The Hotel Year, have never sounded better than they do on their sophomore release Home, Like Noplace Is There. And that’s really saying something considering how strong, and utterly criminally underrated, their debut album, 2011’s It Never Goes Out, truly was. Though the subdued but thoroughly aptly titled opener “An Introduction To The Album” is a bit off-putting in terms of initial impact, what the track lacks in punch it makes up for in emotional output, spewing forth mainly fr...

Review: Johnny Cash, ‘Out Among The Stars’

April 1st, 2014 7:23pm EDT
Johnny Cash - Out Among The Stars
Among the Stars doesn’t supplant Cash’s best, but serves reminder of his legendary status

Usually, the words ‘lost albums’ signal nothing short of a personal sentiment of ‘don’t waste your time’. However, when a legend posthumously releases a lost LP, the tune changes. Johnny Cash has released multiple posthumous albums, most of which that showcases the singer’s gruff vocals in his final years. While these releases have magic (particularly a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” from American IV: The Man Comes Around, which was released while Cash was still alive), they don’t represent the ex...

Review: Shakira, 'Shakira.'

March 29th, 2014 7:00pm EDT
Review: Shakira, 'Shakira.'
Shakira. is a sound, enjoyable effort, misses a “Hips Don’t Lie” caliber hit

Latin-pop star Shakira returns following a five-year hiatus between English-language albums (she released Spanish album Sale el Sol in October 2010). 2009 LP She Wolf was Shakira’s previous album of such vein, but failed to match the success of 2005 effort Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, an album fueled by a monster single (“Hips Don’t Lie”). Despite critical acclaim and a successful single in “She Wolf” (peaked at no. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100), She Wolf wasn’t a commercial triumph in the U.S. Shakira is likely antic...

Review: Jerrod Niemann, ‘High Noon’

March 26th, 2014 9:15pm EDT
Jerrod Niemann
High Noon has a few notable moments and many forgettable ones

After giving country music “the cold shoulder” throughout the first quarter of 2014, I – the Brent Faulkner – finally decided to give country ‘a chance’. Sure in the process, I successfully passed on offerings by Eric Church (The Outsiders) and yet another Spring Break effort from Luke Bryan, but I suppose singer/songwriter Jerrod Niemann was the motivation. Actually, I’m not incredibly familiar with his music and I wanted to ‘get to know him’ musically. A couple of years back, upon promoting his previous album Free The Music, ...

Review: Daniel Johnson, ‘Go’

March 21st, 2014 5:00am EDT
Daniel Johnson
Even at nearly 80 minutes, Go ends up being a truly inspiring listen.

I know what you’re thinking – why is a gospel music review featured on the site today? Is Brent Faulkner feeling guilty after reviewing that sinful Young Money album, Rise of an Empire or that f-bomb laden Chief Keef single? Nope – let me explain. Well… basically as I was reviewing numerous albums (for other online publications I contribute to) and ended up goofing up – sigh. I accidently reviewed the wrong artist and album and the resulting product just happened to be a gospel album. I am a fan of gospel music, but I r...